Yesterday, I was approached by someone who doesn't sew but wants to learn. They wanted advice on purchasing a sewing machine. The advice I offered was to do the research and try it out before making a decision. I also shared my thoughts on my own sewing machines and how the one that cost the least amount of money was a true treasure.
It is hard to give a recommendation for a sewing machine because I think it is a very personal decision and that it depends on what you want to make, the type of sewing you want to do, and how much time and expense you want to invest. But I shared what information I thought would be helpful even though I didn't feel I was the best source. I don't have an extensive knowledge of the many brands out there. I feel strongly that someone has to do their own research.
And I was asked about what patterns I sew with and well, as you all know, I'm basically a Vogue pattern sewer. I like the fit and I enjoy the challenge of their designer patterns. But for a beginner, I recommended trying McCall's "Learn to Sew for Fun" patterns. I think that McCall's does an excellent job with offering beginner patterns.
So, it has me thinking about what sewing advice I would give a beginner.
- Practice. No one is born a naturally skilled sewer, it takes practice.
- Invest in a seam ripper. We all make mistakes so don't ever get discouraged if you have to dig out a seam ripper.
- Hand-stitching is just as important as knowing how to machine stitch. Don't underestimate the importance of those unseen hand stitches to the final look of your project.
- Never throw out the fabric scraps after you finish cutting out your project. Keep them near by to practice on, it is a good way to check the quality of your needle and test out your stitching and tension before you get started.
- One needle does not fit all.
- There is a difference between pressing and ironing. Never skip on pressing as you sew. It will make a world of difference in the final outcome.
- Don't sew over pins! Please don't. It could cause your needle to break, damage your fabric or worse.
- Take care to cut your pattern following the grain line markings and transferring all the required markings. The investment in time will pay off in the end. Pattern instruction sheets have a glossary of terms that you should read and understand before you begin work on your pattern. Just like following a recipe, read the instructions first before starting a project.
- Wax your thread to prevent it from getting tangled when hand-stitching or sewing on buttons.
- Have fun! Sewing is supposed to be relaxing. If it's not, it's time to get up put on some good tunes, dance a little, make a cup of tea or do something else. Give yourself permission to enjoy the creative process. It's all about the journey of discovery. Enjoy it.
That's it, now that I've given it more thought, my sewing advice for beginners.